Best way to uninstall apps?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DubLogic19, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. DubLogic19 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #1
    So I have several apps that I would like to uninstall. As I understand the standard way to delete apps is to put them in the trash, but I also understand that you can potentially leave behind unneeded files on the computer. What is the best way to uninstall apps and delete all associated files? Furthermore, If I delete an app and there are still leftover files what are the easiest ways to find those files and get rid of them? Thanks ! :apple:
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
  3. Wafflausages macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    #3
    Download App Cleaner. It's free and deletes all the files associated with that program
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    No, it doesn't. In most cases, app removal software doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this and this. If you just want to delete the app, drag the .app file to the trash. No other software needed. If you want to completely remove all associated files/folders, no removal apps will do the job.
     
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #5
    I have always wondered why this is the case as surely an app could be made that does this? automates the manual deletion? or make an app you install other apps via that keeps track what folder/files are created so it will know what to delete if removed?

    Does deleting apps from the MAS get rid of everything? or is ot the same as pre app store?
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    Same as non-MAS apps. Most leave behind plists, logs, caches, etc. Many of the uninstall apps remove the plists and a few others, but frequently leave behind much larger files. Even apps with their own uninstaller usually leave files behind. I've wondered why no apps exist that can completely remove everything, but I've tested many of them over the years and have never found one that does as thorough a job as manual deletion. The good news is manual deletion can be done in less than a minute.
     
  7. Wafflausages macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    #7
    Ah nice to know thanks for the info :)
     
  8. DubLogic19 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #8
    Well just went manual as advised, I'm still curious as to whether not I missed anything maybe from past applications.
     
  9. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #10
    Just stop. Please.
    GGJ just answered correctly. These apps can only find general associated files. There are too many variables on each authors apps to find everything. An associated .plist and App Support directory is not all there could be. Shell scripts, launch daemons, cache/ receipts, none of these are targeted with any uninstall app for OS X. Use the apps included uninstaller or check their support for how-to's. Some cocoa based apps can be uninstalled with AppZapper and the like but 80% of the time they leave pieces behind. As a user you have to know if the app follows proper cocoa protocol for support file arrangement. And if you know that chances are you don't need an "Auto" uninstaller anyway.
     
  10. kgs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    #11
    As someone who works for a well known developer and commonly used application on the Mac. I can vouch for the fact "Uninstaller" apps do not clean up everything and often times do more harm than good.

    With our application (no I won't name it) we've had more trouble with uninstaller applications than people who just use the manual method. We have users that use these applications because they encounter a problem and think removing the application and reinstalling will help solve the issue. In most cases it won't and we spend valuable time trying to track down what the problem was and what files stuck around.

    Also, in many cases using these programs has also removed valuable data associated with the application that was not intended to be removed. Many times this happens unknowingly to the user, as some allow you to just drag an app to the trash and it removes the files it finds. But they don't want all of the data to be removed.

    So, I'd urge users to NOT use these applications. If you really wish to remove everything, ask the developers for details or use their uninstaller application if they provide one. Be sure to back up any important data prior to removal as well.
     
  11. macuser1232 macrumors 6502a

    macuser1232

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    #12
    I really think AppCleaner is very reliable and will get SOME files deleted. Yes, there will be more files related to the application and it's up to you to get rid of the extras.
     
  12. kgs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    #13
    You've stated your opinion. At the request of others, please stop.

    I only hope that the people who read this will not trust your opinion though.
     
  13. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #14
    AppCleaner is no different than CleanApp or AppZapper. They scavenge the same areas and do the same job of "uninstalling" some files. Not all, which is the entire point, no? At least AppZapper wins design awards:D
    http://appzapper.com/#2
    Of course the apps they show as about to be deleted are good citizens and have all their files listed. AppCleaner feature not to be trusted is the SmartDelete thing. But like I said, I don't really use any of these unless I am lazy and know exactly the file hierarchy of which I am deleting. Still not good to teach Win converts though as it does not work like the Windows control panel Add/ Remove Software feature as there is no real install gatekeeper behind the scenes.
     
  14. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #15
    Yes, it could be done to a degree. You would have to put restrictions around what you will touch.

    I have an Alfred extension I wrote that handles some of this, but it is artificially restricted, instead of searching for files with some name related to the App, I do the following:


    Grab the CFBundleIdentifier from that App's Info.plist. This gives me the name a good developer would use to reference files associated with that app (reverse domain, for example com.panic.Transmit).

    Using that, I run through and delete Preferences, Caches using that CFBundleIdentifier and lastly the app itself.

    There are issues with this method: Bad Developers who do not use the CFBundleIdentifier for identifying their support files. Google Chrome or 1Password for example, do not do this for caches.

    For Chrome caches, you would need to go into ~/Library/Caches/Google/Chrome

    Of course, Preferences and caches are a small piece, you have receipts, frameworks and many other files. Maybe you tried two apps from the same developer, and want to delete one fully but they share a common Framework. There isn't a really good way to determine such a case, and you end up with bad results.

    In short, there isn't really a good way to handle this stuff in a way that gets everything and has no chance of being destructive.
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #16
    If you remember the names of those past apps, you can still use the manual method to search for remaining remnants.
    Read the thread.
    Yes, it reliably misses files that should be deleted.
    The AppCleaner suggestion is off-topic, as the OP stated:
    As already stated, none of the uninstaller apps will remove all associated files, as requested.
     

Share This Page